Improving Service Quality in Our Classrooms: Student Feedback as a Quality Mechanism for Teaching
AbstractAcademic staff in higher education receive feedback from the top where superiors appraise them, horizontally where peers appraise them and, to a lesser extent, from the bottom where students appraise them. This feedback impacts on the quality of service that academic staff provides and ultimately the image of the institution. If academics consider their students to be their ‘customers’ then who better than students can provide information regarding the quality of service that they provide. To date most of the literature on feedback has focused on lecturers providing feedback to students. Limited research has focussed on student feedback although ample anecdotal evidence exists suggesting that student feedback does contribute to improved teaching approaches by academics and a better understanding of student needs. The current study was designed to highlight and understand student feedback through the reflections and experiences of academic staff in two universities in the Gauteng province of South Africa. A qualitative research approach was used to access information on the perceptions of a purposive sample (n = 12) of academics of student feedback as a measure of their quality of teaching. The following themes emerged through the analysis of the data: quality, frequency, process, constraints and reliability, benefits and timing. The results indicate that academics found student feedback to be a valuable indicator of the quality of their teaching and the curriculum. Recommendations arising from the findings were provided for academics.
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